White Hart Speaker Series: Rinker Buck, LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI

Event date: 
Tuesday, September 13, 2022 - 6:00pm
Event address: 
The White Hart Inn
15 Undermountain Road
Salisbury, CT 06068

Presented by Oblong Books in collaboration with The White Hart Inn & Scoville Memorial Library.

FREE. RSVP Requested.

RSVP HERE

Join us to hear master American storyteller Rinker Buck, present his new epic Life on the Mississippi - an enchanting blend of history and adventure in which Buck builds a wooden flatboat from the grand “flatboat era” of the 1800s and sails it down the Mississippi River, illuminating the forgotten past of America’s first western frontier.

Rinker BuckLife on the Mississippi by Rinker Buck

A modern-day Huck Finn, Buck casts off down the river on the flatboat Patience accompanied by an eccentric crew of daring shipmates. Over the course of his voyage, Buck steers his fragile wooden craft through narrow channels dominated by massive cargo barges, rescues his first mate gone overboard, sails blindly through fog, breaks his ribs not once but twice, and camps every night on sandbars, remote islands, and steep levees. As he charts his own journey, he also delivers a richly satisfying work of history that brings to life a lost era.

Rinker Buck began his career in journalism at the Berkshire Eagle and was a longtime staff writer for the Hartford Courant. He has written for Vanity Fair, New York, Life, and many other publications, and his work has won the PEN New England Award, the Eugene S. Pulliam National Journalism Writing Award, and the Society of Professional Journalists Sigma Delta Chi Award. He is the New York Times bestselling author of The Oregon Trail, Flight of Passage, and First Job. He lives in Tennessee.

Copies of LIFE ON THE MISSISSIPPI will be available for purchase at this event. A booksigning will follow the presentation.


The White Hart Inn is a fully wheelchair-accessible space with on-site van-accessible parking. Microphones and speakers will be used at this event. If you have specific questions about the space or how an event can be made more accessible to you, please do not hesitate to contact us: info@oblongbooks.com. Masks optional.


As a historian, Buck resurrects the era’s adventurous spirit, but he also challenges familiar myths about American expansion, confronting the bloody truth behind settlers’ push for land and wealth. The Indian Removal Act of 1830 forced more than 125,000 members of the Cherokee, Choctaw, and several other tribes to travel the Mississippi on a brutal journey en route to the barrens of Oklahoma. Simultaneously, almost a million enslaved African Americans were carried in flatboats and marched by foot 1,000 miles over the Appalachians to the cotton and cane fields of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana, birthing the term “sold down the river.” Weaving together a tapestry of first-person histories, Buck portrays this watershed era of American expansion as it was really lived.

With a rare narrative power that blends stirring adventure with absorbing untold history, Life on the Mississippi is a mus­cular and majestic feat of storytelling from a writer who may be the closest that we have today to Mark Twain.